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Kodak sues over patent infringement

By dpreview staff on Mar 2, 2001 at 04:00 GMT

Well, at least allegedly... Kodak are suing Agfa, Sanyo and Seiko Epson over infringement of patents it owns for image compression and digital storage, removable software-enhanced storage devices, and inventions in an apparatus for minimizing "red-eye''. The company said it is seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory damages.

Kodak sues rivals for copyright infringement

NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) - Photography giant Eastman Kodak Co.(NYSE:EK - news) has sued three of its rivals, charging them with infringing upon Kodak patents in areas ranging from digital imaging to combating the "red-eye'' effect in pictures.

In a federal compliant filed on February 23 in Rochester, N.Y., Kodak brought suit against Belgium's Agfa-Gevaert NV, , Japan's Sanyo Electric Co. and Seiko Epson Corp., and and their U.S. units.

In the suit, Kodak alleges infringement of patents it owns for image compression and digital storage, removable software-enhanced storage devices, and inventions in an apparatus for minimizing "red-eye,'' which occurs when a subject's eyes appear discolored after a flash is used.

The company said it is seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory damages.

Kodak has been struggling to redefine itself in a digital age with major investments in digital and online photography.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based company has said it hopes to expand its digital and online business to about 45 percent of its planned $24 billion revenues by 2005.

UPDATE: 2/March/2001:

Agfa rejects Kodak patent infringement complaint

BRUSSELS, March 2 (Reuters) - Belgian image technology group Agfa-Gevaert on Friday rejected accusations by Eastman Kodak Co (NYSE:EK - news) that it had infringed digital camera technology patents.

An Agfa spokeswoman said the company was not responsible for the technology used by "several'' manufacturers that made its cameras under contract.

Spokeswoman Rene Willems declined to identify the manufacturers.

Kodak on Thursday said it had sued three of its rivals, including Agfa-Gevaert, for patent infringement in a suit filed in U.S. federal court in Rochester, N.Y.

Willems said Agfa was surprised by the lawsuit because it had been in talks with Kodak throughout last year about using the technology.

"We are astounded,'' said Willems. "Throughout all of 2000 there have been talks between Kodak's lawyers and ours.''

Agfa was considering its options as it waited for official notice of the lawsuit, she said.

Willems also was not immediately able to identify the digital camera models in question.

By around 1040 GMT, Agfa's stock was off 0.4 percent at 23.45 euros on Euronext Brussels.

Kodak also named Sanyo Electric and Seiko Epson of Japan in the lawsuit.

It alleges that Agfa, Sanyo and Seiko infringed on patents in areas such as image compression and digital storage, as well as the reduction of the "red-eye'' effect, which occurs when a person's eyes appear discoloured in a photograph taken with a flash.

Kodak, which is struggling to redefine itself in a digital age with major investments in digital and online photography, is seeking an unspecified amount of money in compensatory damages.

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